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N. Korean missile launch highlights need to engage in diplomacy: official

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (Yonhap) — North Korea’s latest missile launch highlights the urgent need to engage with the reclusive state in dialogue, a senior South Korean official said Tuesday.

The official also said South Korea, Japan and the United States share concerns over the North’s missile launch.

“There were concerns since the North’s continued missile launches may affect our efforts (to resume dialogue) to a certain extent as we discuss ways to bring North Korea back to dialogue,” the official said while speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity.

“Still, there were views that the missile launch, on the other hand, demonstrates the need to quickly engage with North Korea in dialogue,” the official said of a trilateral meeting between the top nuclear envoys of South Korea, Japan and the United States held earlier Tuesday in Washington.

North Korea fired what appeared to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Tuesday (Seoul time), shortly after U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim reaffirmed U.S. commitment to engage with North Korea following his bilateral meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Noh Kyu-duk.

“In today’s meeting, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan shared their views on recent conditions surrounding the Korean Peninsula, including the latest missile launch. (We) agreed on the importance of maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula, and agreed to work closely together to restart the Korean Peninsula peace process at an early date,” Noh said of Tuesday’s trilateral talks that also involved Japan’s Takehiro Funakoshi.

The U.S. State Department earlier condemned the North Korean missile launch as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions that prohibit any nuclear or ballistic missile tests by the North.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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